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  Refract this!Jan 26, 2011 7:01 PM PST | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:"What?" may be exactly what you're wondering at this point too but, never fear, at least some of this strange sequence should be a bit clearer before we hit the very end of this episode in a week or so. We've got some drastic action yet to go here, too!
 
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This article shows a cool time lapse, using ISS astronaut Paulo Nespoli's photos from space, of how the moon appears to squish--or unsquish, rather--as it comes up over the Earth's horizon; it's something you can see for yourself from down here on the planet, but the effect becomes much more pronounced if you're at the right angle just above the atmosphere, which is refracting light from the moon, making it appear to bend.
 
This is atmospheric refraction, and here's another example of it, as seen from the Space Shuttle Discovery:
 
Image
image by NASA (source)
 
But you should check out that first-linked article, 'cause it's got a pretty striking demonstration of the phenomenon. Also, while bumbling around that site, I found a link to these spectacular photos of the Earth seen from the ISS. Really amazing stuff.
 
 
 
 
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